Amazon has lengthy been at odds with Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) over their criticisms of the corporate’s labor and enterprise practices. However the discord reached new heights final week when Amazon aggressively went after each senators on Twitter in an uncommon assault for a big company. With every new snarky tweet from an Amazon govt or the corporate’s official Twitter account, insiders and observers alike requested a model of the identical query: “What the hell is happening?”
It seems that Amazon leaders had been following a broad mandate from the very high of the corporate: Battle again.
Recode has discovered that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos expressed dissatisfaction in latest weeks that firm officers weren’t extra aggressive in how they pushed again towards criticisms of the corporate that he and different leaders deem inaccurate or deceptive. What adopted was a sequence of snarky and aggressive tweets that ended up fueling their very own media cycles.
The timing was possible not coincidental. Bezos and different Amazon leaders are on edge as the corporate is dealing with the biggest union election in its historical past at its Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse. Election outcomes will probably be tallied early this week, and Amazon officers perceive that if a majority of the staff vote to unionize, it may set off a series response at different services — doubtlessly forcing the e-commerce big to overtake the way it manages its tons of of 1000’s of frontline US employees.
There was terror inside the manager ranks of Amazon the final time a union election was held at a US Amazon facility — and that was solely a small subset of a warehouse’s workforce, the vast majority of whom voted towards unionization. That vote occurred in early 2014 and consisted of simply 27 technicians and mechanics at an Amazon warehouse in Delaware. In Alabama, although, the stakes are a lot increased with almost 6,000 employees eligible to vote. Bezos is aware of all of this properly.
So when information broke final week that Sanders was planning to go to Alabama within the closing days of voting, high Amazon govt Dave Clark fired off a Twitter thread that began with the next submit.
“I welcome @SenSanders to Birmingham and admire his push for a progressive office,” Clark’s account posted on Wednesday. “I usually say we’re the Bernie Sanders of employers, however that’s not fairly proper as a result of we truly ship a progressive office.”
1/3 I welcome @SenSanders to Birmingham and admire his push for a progressive office. I usually say we’re the Bernie Sanders of employers, however that’s not fairly proper as a result of we truly ship a progressive office https://t.co/Fq8D6vyuh9
— Dave Clark (@davehclark) March 24, 2021
Just a few hours later, the official “Amazon Information” media relations Twitter account, with greater than 170,000 followers, snapped again towards Home Rep. Mark Pocan, who had questioned Clark’s “progressive office” assertion by alluding to tales of Amazon’s tempo of labor being so demanding that employees need to “urinate in water bottles.”
“You don’t actually imagine the peeing in bottles factor, do you?” the official Amazon Information account tweeted. “If that had been true, no one would work for us.”
1/2 You don’t actually imagine the peeing in bottles factor, do you? If that had been true, no one would work for us. The reality is that we’ve over one million unbelievable staff all over the world who’re pleased with what they do, and have nice wages and well being care from day one.
— Amazon Information (@amazonnews) March 25, 2021
And after a back-and-forth with Warren that started along with her criticizing the corporate’s tax funds, the identical Amazon account “quote-tweeted” Warren with this message:
That is extraordinary and revealing. One of the vital highly effective politicians in the US simply mentioned she’s going to interrupt up an American firm in order that they will’t criticize her anymore. https://t.co/Nt0wcZo17g
— Amazon Information (@amazonnews) March 26, 2021
An Amazon spokesperson didn’t reply to a request for remark.
If Bezos wished the information cycle off of the union drive for a bit, it form of labored. However as an alternative of speaking concerning the union, media shops and trade observers have been targeted on the rarity and judgment of a trillion-dollar firm sparring with highly effective lawmakers on Twitter. Amazon’s pushback on Pocan’s remark about employees peeing in bottles additionally ignited one other information cycle after the Intercept revealed inside Amazon communications acknowledging that contractors who ship Amazon packages generally defecate in luggage and urinate in bottles.
Amazon warehouse employees who’ve spoken to Recode over time say it’s certainly uncommon to listen to of a warehouse worker — versus a supply driver — urinate in bottles at work. However the greater level many make is that it’s not unusual for employees to take different measures, comparable to limiting how a lot they drink, to cut back their want to make use of the toilet for worry of lacking their manufacturing quotas or getting written up by supervisors for an excessive amount of “time without work process,” as Amazon calls it.
Inside Amazon, rank-and-file staff had been additionally perplexed by the corporate’s Twitter method. “Suspicious exercise on @amazonnews Twitter account,” was the title of 1 inside help ticket — known as a bother ticket inside the corporate — filed by an Amazon safety engineer final week, in accordance with a screenshot seen by Recode.
“Over the previous two days, there have been two threads by @amazonnews in response to feedback made by US Authorities officers which have acquired appreciable consideration,” the ticket reads. “The tweets in query don’t match the same old content material posted by this account.”
The safety engineer famous that the tweets had been posted utilizing Twitter’s net app reasonably than Sprinklr, the social media administration software program sometimes utilized by the Amazon Information account to submit tweets.
The tweets, in accordance with the safety engineer, “are unnecessarily antagonistic (risking Amazon’s model) and could also be a results of unauthorized entry.”
The help ticket was closed with out motion, in accordance with a supply.